POLYGAMY IN UTAH.
The House took up as unfinished business the bill to punish and prevent the practice of polygamy in the Terri-tories of the United States and other places', and to disap-prove and annul certain acts of the Legislature of the Ter-ritory of Utah.
Mr. NELSON withdrew the pending motion to recom-mit, and asked that the bill be put upon its passage.
Mr. BRANCH offered an amendment striking out so much of the bill as makes polygamy a crime, and proceed-ed to advocate his amendment. The original bill, he said, contained two sections, each having a distinct object. The first section proposed to make polygamy a crime through-out all the Territories of the United States, and the second proposed to disapprove and annul certain acts of the Utah Legislature sanctioning and upholding polygamy. His amendment struck out the first section, but retained so much of the bill as disapproved or annulled the laws of Utah sanctioning and permitting polygamy. The right to annul the laws of Utah was expressly reserved in the act organizing that Territory, and to annul those laws would not violate any right of the people of Utah nor any great principle affecting the government of the Territories. The question whether they should pass a general law rendering criminal this practice in all the Territories brought up a different class of considerations altogether. He would suggest to his friends on the Democratic side that if they could render polygamy criminal, they could also render slavery criminal, that other "twin relic of barbarism," as it was called in the Black Republican platform of 1856. They were not without a remedy against polygamy, more complete and more efficient than would be a law of Con-gress declaring it criminal. They could reach this prac-tice, a practice condemned by the public sentiment and the legislation of the whole civilized world, by totally repealing the Territorial government of Utah. Then they could either attach Utah to the adjacent Territories, or put it under the general law for the government of the citizens of the unoc-cupied Territories. But in the latter event the Territories would be brought before Congress for all their local rules and regulations, causing additional trouble and consump-tion of time. The other course, of attaching Utah to adja-cent Territories, was open to grave and serious difficul-ties. No Territory lying adjacent would be able by superior numbers to control the legislation for Utah.
Mr. CLARK, of Missouri, said the Committee on Terri-tories now have that subject under consideration, and they thought there were Territories around Utah of sufficient strength to control the political as well as the moral action of that Territory. The subject was now under investiga-tion as to the propriety of blotting out Utah as a Territory, and thus destroying this evil and putting an end to other enormities.
Mr. BRANCH said he was still of the opinion that it was not possible in the nature of things that any of our un-settled Territories adjacent to the Territory of Utah could at this time have sufficient population to combat the Mor-mons. They could not attach them to California, because, she being a State, she would refuse, as she had a, right, to receive them. The only course would be to attach them to some Territory at present organized, or to carve out a new Territory with a view to control and absorb them. He therefore discarded all considerations of repealing the Ter-ritorial government of Utah or of attaching it to adjacent Territories.
Mr. TAYLOR, of Louisiana, as a member of the Ju-diciary Committee, desired to say that when this bill was before the committee he was not able to be present. He thought Congress had no power to pass a criminal law to apply within the Territory of Utah or any organized Ter-ritory. He was in favor of the adoption of any measure calculated to extirpate the evil, and therefore cheerfully supported the amendment proposed by the gentleman from North Carolina.
Mr. BRANCH proceeded. The third plan to get rid of this evil was that proposed by his amendment, to annul the acts passed already by Utah rendering polygamy legal, and to control its future legislation by taking into their own hands the appointment of the lawmaking power. This was no new policy in reference to the Territories. The earliest instance of Territorial government was that established by the ordinance of 1787 for the Territories northwest of the Ohio. According to that ordinance, there were two stages of Territorial government. In the first stage, the legislative power was vested in the Governor and Judges of the Territory; but whenever a Territory had attained a population of five thousand voters, they were authorized to elect one branch only of their Legisla-ture. In no instance, in all the earlier Territories, was an incipient Territorial government allowed to elect both branches. The first instance in which this was allowed was in the case of Wisconsin, in 1836, and that was a total revolution in our Territorial policy. The fathers never conceded to the people of Territories the right to exercise sovereign power over the land they occupied. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, and Florida, all passed their tutilage, or a portion of it, under these re-straints of their forms of government, and those Territories were well governed. In due time they were admitted as States, and were now some of the most magnificent States of this Union. Under the new system inaugurated in 1836, they had the Territories of Utah and Kansas, which had given more trouble than all the other Territories of the Union put together. He was in favor of returning to this system that had worked so well, and whenever the people of a Territory showed themselves unfit for self-government he had no hesitation in withdrawing from them the privilege of self-government, and taking it into the hands of Congress. It was useless to be eternally dabbling in the dirty waters below the spring-head. Let them repeal those laws which are shocking to the moral sense of the country, and make sure that no future laws of the kind shall be passed by con-trolling the law-making power. Purify the fountain-head, and there would be no more trouble with the laws that flow from that fountain head.
Mr. NELSON said he desired to get a vote upon the bill this morning, but he did not desire to prevent discussion upon a measure of such importance.
Several gentlemen desired to propose amendments.
Mr. BRANCH suggested that the bill be postponed for one week.
Mr. NELSON would not object, if it could he made the special order at that time.
Mr. SHERMAN objected to making another special order.
Mr. BARR moved to lay the bill on the table; which motion was disagreed to— yeas 19, nays 148.
Mr. LOGAN offered a substitute for the bill, repealing the act establishing a Territorial government for Utah.
Mr. MILLSON hoped the bill would not be forced through hastily. Discussion could only be desired for the purpose of improving the bill, for he could not persuade himself that many gentlemen would object to its great ob-jects. He had listened with some pain to the remarks of the gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. BRANCH,) and the suggestions of the gentleman from Louisiana, (Mr. TAYLOR,) and would like an opportunity to reply to those gentleman.
Mr. BRANCH asked what remarks of his had given pain to the gentleman from Virginia.
Mr. MILLSON replied that he was always pained to learn that opinions he had advanced and maintained were not approved by the gentleman from North Carolina.
Mr. BRANCH thought he must have been misunder-stood. He had condemned the practice of polygamy and all laws sustaining it, and had discussed the question solely as one of political power, presenting a mode of getting rid of the evil which he thought likely to be more efficient and successful than that proposed by the bill.
Mr. REAGAN moved that the bill be postponed till Mon-day next, and made the special order after the morning hour.
Mr. MORRILL hoped the motion would not prevail, as the subject had been fully discussed during the last four years.
Mr. NELSON was in favor of the motion to postpone, and thought discussion on the bill would bring about some-thing like unanimity.
After some further discussion the bill was postponed un-til Monday next.
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